New Zealand's teachers want to be paid more, and have smaller classes to teach. They earn on average $10,000 less than their Australian counterparts. A 4% pay increase will cost the government about $40m, plus an additional $12m for laptops and increased KiwiSaver payments. The additional costs seem to relate to smaller classes, bringing the total to $105m.
Meanwhile, the Government now spends $408m per year paying interest on student loans (this is almost twice the amount projected in 2005, by the way).
If we cancelled interest-free student loans, we could give the teachers what they want three times over and still have change. According to the OECD, New Zealand teachers earned on average between $10,000 and $15,000 less .